Midwest Conference on Technology, Employment & Community

Chicago Circle Center, UIC, 750 South Halsted, Chicago, March 2 - 4, 1995

Notes on Workshop #04: Let us proclaim! chicago, from hog butcher to... what we

Let Us Proclaim!

Let Us Proclaim! was a writing workshop to envision what the future could be like Participants began with the image of Chicago created by Carl Sandburg:
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
The poem concludes:

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.
We then examined some of the images that come from this poem, Big Shoulders, masculinity, bold & exuberant, something from another time. We contrasted that with the slick skyscraper stockyard-less image of Chicago today. To look into the future we read a poem written by Guatemalan poet Otto Rene Castillo, who imagined the happy children of a new society at the end of the century (he wrote in 1957). Then we were treated to a vision of American streets at present view by formerly homeless poet, Dino Lewis.

Workshop leader Anne Schultz led us through a series of imaginative exercises to examine our own experiences and then to set them down on paper. The process was to make short lists based on questions like: What will you be doing in a year or five years? Name two obstacles in the way? Where will you get unexpected help? What monster do you meet on the road? The question that seemed to draw the most from participants was the "monster" question. Dino's memorable response, was "The monster to me is America. It's the place I'm living in."

The time was short, the responses in our small group quite varied and personal. With the prospect of a world without work, each individual is challenged to look into his or her own creative voice. This is just a slice of what such voices will say.

Contributions by Conference Participants

An Old, But not
a magic

Large & purple
whose bottom
spreads across
the path
Shedding large tears
. . . . . .that sink
& make the ground
slick & slinky
How can poor Puff get
. . . . . . . . on?

He needs not
a Slayer leaping
from the woods
But one that's
lean, even mean
A seasoned archer
from deep inside
his own large
booming heart
to let fly
his hand carved
and prick
his own behind.

. . .Leslie Willis

Neither an arrogant
Nor a demoralized 'have-not'
wearing a magic mantle
transforms the brutal
technocrat into my co-

. . .Julie Benesh


kids on my block plug
into the corner computer
. . . .center
and write & draw the
. . . .WORLD

. . .Lew Rosenbaum

Personal Fears
What is the World Coming To


New people coming to settle from many places. Settle in little neighbor-hoods with people of their kind. They stick together and name those areas, "uptown," chinatown, skid row, Pilsen, "Little Italy" etc.


People are still coming to settle but they are more scattered, more mixing, mixing names, ancestors, colors, but sharing the same problems.

Down the road people begin to understand that time brings a change.

Change comes in stages and struggle and each stage brings on a new way of life.

. . .Kay Strauther


My concern is how do we incorporate what we learn of ourselves using this method of freeing the inner self for discovery. What can we do to encourage this process of understanding what it is we must confront in order to establish a collective voice in overcoming the problems that we daily must deal with to survive?

. . .Mike

The problem of the human race is knowledge. This has always been the case, but it is more so today than ever before. If every human possessed scientific knowledge, then the human race could achieve peace and spiritual tranquility.

But this is not the state of the world. Many do not seek knowledge, even though they have the opportunity right before their nose. Others are denied knowledge. Still others use ignorance as a tool to gain social and material advantage. Competition is facilitated by unequal knowledge.

. . . Tom Hirschl, Cornell U.

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Maintained by Robin Burke <burke@cs.uchicago.edu>
Last modified: Wed Mar 1 17:13:36 1995